Pain in the jaw, specifically the temporomandibular joint, more commonly referred to as TMJ, is a very common occurrence today, that most often goes untreated or undiagnosed.
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your jaw to the temporal bones of the skull which are located in the front of the ears. This joint is what allows you to move your jaw up, down and side to side, thus allowing you to chew food, talk, and yawn.
Pain or problems in this joint are often incorrectly termed TMJ after the joint, but the actual term for temporomandibular disorders is TMD. To avoid confusion with the general public, you may even have seed or heard the term TMJ disorders. TMJ pain usually shows up as headaches, migraines, jaw aches, popping and/or throbbing aches in around the ear. Most often people who suffer from a TMJ disorder will hear a constant clicking sound whenever they open their mouth or chew food.
What causes TMJ disorders can be difficult to pin down, but it is usually is a result of the combination of factors such as arthritis, genetics, or a jaw injury. TMJ pain can also rear its ugly head for people who have the tendency to clench their jaw or grind their teeth (bruxism).
In many TMJ pain cases, the pain is only temporary and can be relieved with at-home treatments and various jaw exercises. However, if the pain is constant and you can’t find relief from any of the following Idaho Falls TMJ treatments, you will need to schedule a consultation with a specialist at Comfort Sleep Solutions. This consultation will help your Idaho Falls TMJ treatment specialist find out what treatment solution is best for you-which could mean being fitted with a custom oral appliance or possibly surgery.
Below you’ll find more information about how to treat your TMJ pain at home naturally and what exercises can be used to relieve the pain.
At Home Remedies for Idaho Falls TMJ Pain
While TMJ pain can resolve itself over time (anywhere from a few days, weeks, or months) occasionally the pain is so intense that Idaho Falls TMJ treatment is required. The following treatment options can help you to relieve some of the pain without having to go see a specialist:
- Moist Heat – Heat can help to increase function and movement of the jaw, while reducing pain. Try wrapping a heat pack in a warm, moist towel to the affected area. Avoid burning yourself by first placing the hot compress to your wrist to check the temperature. If you don’t have a heat pack, a simple warm, damp towel will also work.
- Ice or Cold Compress – Cooler temperatures can help to numb pain, promote healing and are also good for decreasing inflammation in the jaw. Just like the heat pack, wrap the ice or ice pack in a clean towel (not moist) when you are using it. Never place ice directly on skin and don’t keep the ice on the area for longer than 15 minutes.
- Over-The-Counter Anti-inflammatory Pain Medications – The short-term use of anti-inflammatory medications can help many people find temporary relief from their TMJ pain and is an effective TMJ treatment option in Idaho Falls. Depending on the severity of your TMJ pain, your doctor may recommend other pain relief medications such as muscle relaxants or prescription anti-inflammatory medications to help ease some of the discomfort.
- Soft Food Diet – Since one of the causes of TMJ disorders can be excessive chewing, one at home TMJ treatment you can do is to avoid foods that require a lot of chewing and stick to soft or blended foods that allow the jaw to rest. Try and avoid crunchy, chewy or hard foods and chewing gum when you’re experiencing TMJ pain, as these foods will only exacerbate the issue.
- Relaxation Techniques – Relaxation techniques such a massage, yoga, and/or meditation can help some individuals deal with the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorder. Similarly, consciously relaxing the muscles of the face like the jaw and the lips can help to reduce pain.
- Mouth Guards – Your Idaho Falls TMJ treatment specialist can create a custom mouth-guard to aid with jaw realignment and to prevent teeth clench and grinding while you sleep or as needed.
Idaho Falls TMJ Treatment Exercises for Pain
In addition to the above treatment options, you can also try these exercises to reduce pain and discomfort in the jaw and joint. Try the following exercises at home:
- Progressive Relaxation Exercise – To perform this exercise simply clasp your jaw tightly and then allow your jaw to gently fall open. Rest your hand under your jaw and gently press against your jaw as you open your jaw. Then move your jaw to right and relax, then the left. Repeat as needed.
- Jaw Stretch Exercise – This exercise is designed to stretch the masticatory muscles (the muscles that help you chew). Use your fingertips to gently massage your jaw muscles in small circular motions. Then, open your mouth as wide as you are able and hold this stretch for 10 seconds and then relax. Try and repeat this exercise 10 times.
- Goldfish Exercise – For this exercise keep your tongue on the roof of your mouth while placing a finger on your TMJ and the other finger on your chin. Drop your lower jaw completely and bring it up six times.
- Visualization Exercise – Visualization exercises can help to relax shoulders, jaws, and other facial muscles. To perform this visualization exercise begin by sitting in a chair and inhale and exhale in a steady pattern. Keeping your mouth closed, press your tongue firmly to the top of your mouth and relax. Next, tighten the muscles in your jaw for a few seconds then relax. Then tighten the muscles of your face as if you’ve just sucked on something sour. To finish, lift the shoulders to the ears and then gently lower them after a few seconds. Return to a steady breath pattern.
- Side-to-Side Jaw Exercise – Using about ¼ of an inch of stacked tongue depressors, place them between your teeth and slowly move the jaw from side to side. As you continue to perform this Idaho Falls TMJ treatment exercise, gradually increase the thickness of the tongue depressors between the teeth.
If you or a loved one is still experiencing TMJ pain with no relief in sight, contact Comfort Sleep Solutions today. We will schedule you a consultation in order to better understand your TMJ pain and what necessary steps need to be taken in order to aid in your recovery.